Nortel will not issue its earnings report for 2003 and the first two quarters of this year until “the end of October”, the company said Thursday.

Nortel (NYSE: NT) closed at $3.83, down 7 cents.

“Given the volume and complexity of the work involved, including completion of the Company’s work and the related audits and reviews of results — the Company now expects to file by the end of October 2004 the financial statements for the year 2003 and the first and second quarters of 2004 and related periodic reports, and follow thereafter, as soon as practicable, with any required amendments to periodic reports for prior periods,” the company said in a statement. “The Company’s previous expectation was that it would file these financial statements and related periodic reports by the end of the third quarter of 2004.”

Nortel also filed a details of its compensation plan for William Owens, who took over as chief executive officer on April 27.

Owens will receive a base salary of $1 million in US dollars. He also is eligible for a bonus of 170 percent of his base salary.

Other parts of the package include a “special pension benefit” if he retires after five years as CEO. The package will pay him a monthly pension of $33,540 over five years.

In a statement as part of Nortel’s announcement about its earnings review, Owens said the financial review is progressing.

“Notwithstanding the delay in the expected filing of our financial statements, we have made substantial progress to date and continue to dedicate all necessary resources and work closely with our external auditors to complete the financial statements as soon as possible in October,” Owens said. “I continue to focus on driving the business forward and remain confident in the quality people, the strategy and the technologies of Nortel Networks.”

Owens was hired in April to replace Frank Dunn, who had been fired. Some 10 Nortel execs have been fired in the wake of Nortel’s financial review.

Nortel is fighting a variety of lawsuits and government regulations.